China's peaceful rise is beyond doubt

14:05, July 19, 2011      

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Few countries evolved into world powers peacefully, so many people doubt the feasibility of China's path of peaceful development. By their logic, if China wants to protect and expand its national interests as well as to resolve maritime territorial disputes, a war with neighboring countries will be unavoidable. They believe that China is stuck in a dilemma between development and peace.

This is a misinterpretation of China's peaceful development path. In fact, it is highly possible to resolve the South China Sea disputes and other issues through peaceful means. Peaceful resolution of disputes will be an important symbol of China's rise.

First of all, China is taking the road of peaceful development, unlike certain Western countries that evolved into world powers through military expansion. Wars are no longer the theme of the times.

The United States gained tremendous benefits from the two world wars, but two prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 10 years have cost it several trillion U.S. dollars. The superpower now carries a heavy burden because of the two wars, and whether it has won the two wars is still open to question. The country hurt itself badly while hurting others.

By contrast, China has quickly enhanced its comprehensive national strength and international status by adhering to peaceful development. At present, China is at a crucial period in its reform and opening-up, and problems should be avoided whenever possible. A war may put China at risk of losing rare development opportunities and the momentum for growth.

Second, it is completely possible that territorial sovereignty disputes can be resolved in a peaceful manner.

China has resolved most of the territorial disputes with other countries through consultations and negotiations since the founding of the New China. China tackled the territorial disputes with countries such as Burma, North Korea, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan through negations between the late 1950s and early 1960s. China's has solved 90 percent of its land border disputes in a peaceful manner and achieved peace and stability in its border regions.

Despite the particular complexity in maritime borders, there have been many successive examples in the world. As one of the first countries to put forward constructive ideas for the peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue, China believes a solution that is acceptable to all sides involved will eventually be produced.

Certainly, taking the path of peaceful development does not mean that China will compromise its interests when encountering every problem. China’s rejection of the use or threat of force in dealing with problems such as disputes in territorial sovereignty does not mean that China will allow itself to be seized without putting up a fight. In contrast, China will determinedly fight and never back down if China's core interests such as sovereignty and security are violated.

Currently, someone used boundary disputes to violate China's sovereignty and restrict China's development during the critical period of China's development. This will only damage the overall environment of peaceful development and good opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and ultimately harm the interests of both sides.

China does not fear difficulties and will not deliberately create difficulties in dealing with issues such as territorial disputes. The more difficult the environment is, the more we should strengthen the determination of peaceful settlement. Achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and creating a favorable international environment for the peaceful settlement of territorial and maritime disputes is a battle that China should make efforts to win.

By Zheng Xiwen from Guangming Daily, translated by People's Daily Online

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